ANTAKI, C., 2018. Conversation Analysis at the fair. Discourse Studies, 20 (3), pp. 425-430.
The authors of the ‘Conversational Rollercoaster’ article give a vivid and engaging account of a difficult but worthwhile exercise: bringing live Conversation Analysis (CA) to the public in a Science Fair. Part of their motivation is a claim that CA is uniquely qualified for such exhibition: as a mode of enquiry, it has what they call a ‘public ethos’. I examine that part of their case and suggest that it might not be as waterproof as it appears. But, such qualms ought not detract from the positive benefits of sharing CA’s attractions with the public. The manifest success of the event, and its grounding in solid CA practice, is enough reason to hope that others will be inspired to follow in these pioneers’ footsteps.
This paper was published in the journal Discourse Studies and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445618754580.